I rarely publicize a piece of research that I’ve written for our clients, as I know that some if not most of this blog’s readers have no access to that.
However I’d like to make an exception for a research note that was published yesterday on our web site: Citizen-Driven Government Must Be Employee-Centric, Too (subscription required).
I’ve been touching upon how important employees are to a successful government transformation and how “government 2.0” needs an “officer 2.0” to actually work.
In the above-mentioned piece I cover the main characteristics of what I call employee-centric government, which can be summarized as follows:
- It challenges procedures and restates policy boundaries
- It provides a seamless platform for collaboration
- It measures outcomes and not outputs
- It stimulates creativity and rewards innovation
- It reinforces accountability
Gartner clients can look in detail at what this means and how we suggest to distill these characteristics in their current and future transformation programs.
What I believe is quite innovative in our positions on this topic is that we put “citizen-driven” and “employee-centric” together. I’m sure that many will react saying that government has always been employee-centric and that one of the main reason for low quality and low productivity is indeed the inflexibility if not laziness of many employees. We have countries like Italy where government employees are under intense scrutiny and are subject to public criticism by ministers themselves.
So all those who have been talking (yes, mostly talking and less doing) about the mythical “citizen-centric” government were either ignoring, or paying lip service or implicitly criticizing the role of civil servants.
Reality is that the enemy of service quality and efficiency is not the individual but the organization he or she operates in, and the culture that such organization exudes. It is unrealistic to achieve government transformation by just injecting technology, making some organizational adjustments and without changing its organizational value system too.
My contention is that new technologies can help individuals in government change that culture, innovate, transform service delivery and operations from the inside,. All this by reaching out to constituents through social networks, by establishing informal means to cooperate inside and outside their organizations, by accepting to blur the boundaries between personal and professional identities. Employees have knowledge about policies, procedures, cases, processes that citizens do not have. That’s why empowered employees are essential for citizen to drive the government machinery in the direction they want.
What is quite extraordinary is that this does not require new laws, directives, procedures to be started. As a matter of fact, the code of conduct for civil servants is often more than enough to set the boundaries of what they can and cannot do.
As a last observation, every time I touch upon this topic, I get many reactions from clients and non-clients. My previous posts on officer 2.0 and on teachers on Facebook generated a healthy debate (both here and on Facebook itself). And so it happens when I talk to government clients and IT vendors alike.